NewsGator stops charging for consumer RSS client apps

Looks to seed enterprise market and boost relevance of content served up by its RSS readers

As part of an effort to help bolster its enterprise business and provide more relevant content to users, NewsGator Technologies Inc. Wednesday announced that all of its consumer RSS (Real Simple Syndication) client applications are now available without charge.

The list of free applications includes NewsGator Inbox, FeedDemon, NetNewsWire and NewsGator Go for Windows Mobile, Blackberry/Java, iPhone and HTML mobile applications, as well as NewsGator Online, the company said. All include free synchronization across the Web, desktop and mobile devices, NewsGator said.

The applications can be downloaded here, the Denver-based company said.

Greg Reinacker, NewsGator chief technology officer and founder, said that the move was driven by the company's desire to boost corporate sales. NewsGator has found that the more individual users run its client products, the easier it is to sell its server-based products, he said.

In addition, Reinacker said that the move will help NewsGator ensure that it pushes only relevant content to users, he added, noting that the client applications record anonymous usage data such as which articles are e-mailed, which articles are saved as clippings and which feeds get the most clicks. Making the products free will increase the number of users and thus the amount of relevant information that NewsGator applications can gather about the content, he said. For users who do not want to participate, each client includes a mechanism to disable the data collecting and reporting.

Brian Kellner, NewsGator's vice president of products, added that enterprises Wednesday are struggling to ensure that RSS feeders are getting the right content to the right people while still working to make sure that sensitive company data is not sent to unauthorized users.

"Enterprises realize that not every user has to manage all their feeds all the time to get the best information in front of them," he noted.

NewsGator also announced Wednesday the general availability of NetNewsWire 3.1, FeedDemon 2.6, and NewsGator Go for Windows Mobile 2.0. The public beta of NewsGator Inbox 3.0 also began Wednesday.

Mike Gotta, an analyst at Burton Group Inc., said that wider adoption of NewsGator free clients likely will generate a "tremendous amount of relevant information" that can be used to augment existing enterprise server systems.

"Making readers more available for all workers inside an organization makes it easier for people to participate in an RSS platform and makes it more possible to deliver a consistent feed reading experience across multiple application contexts," Gotta said in a statement. "Not only is this a usability and productivity benefit for workers, but the enterprise wins as well, since the underlying RSS platform is able to capture and analyze relevant data on a much broader basis."

Users who purchased a NewsGator client application or renewed a subscription for one on or after December 9, 2007, will automatically receive a credit on the credit card they used to make the purchase. Subscriptions made before that time will stand until they run out.

In addition, NewsGator will no longer provide direct end-user e-mail customer support, but will instead rely on its online forums to provide support. Users who have subscriptions will still be entitled to direct support until their plans run out, the company said.

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